Landing in Delhi for the first time since 1996 was surreal. Where were all the porters ready to pounce on our bags? The grotty airport terminal has been replaced by a world class facility and our arrival was seamless. Well and good considering it was 6am Sunday. After a rest in our pleasant guesthouse we yearned to get taken for a joy ride in an auto rickshaw and were not disappointed. Having deliberately passed the mall we hoped to visit we complained to our driver who insisted we travel another 10 kms further up the road in the opposite direction. As he persisted to ignore us we jumped out of the auto James Bond style and hailed a taxi. This driver spoke English – which always helps – so we asked him about the James Bond movie playing at the Imax Cinema.
Imax, sir? No problem, I take you.
We sat back and enjoyed the Grand Turino style driving typical on Indian roads, confident that we were well on our way to watch a big movie on the big screen. Hello? Did I say we were in India? Did we ask for the Imax? These were my thoughts as we pulled up to the OMAXE Centre, a little mall innocently placed in Gurgaon just to see whether the Tuckers still have a sense of humour..
Diwali, the Festival of Light is upon us and our neighbourhood is festooned with twinkling lights: their prettiness is in contrast to the sound of bombs going off outside our window. You heard me right, I’d swear I was in a war zone and these are not your usual little bang-bang firecrackers. Indians really enjoy loud sounds.
Bill, the carnivore, is enjoying our cook’s all veg meals and in a week of meals we have not had the same thing twice – who knew you could do so many amazing things with vegetables. Indian cuisine is the bomb..perhaps not the best word to use considering the ruckus outside.
The highlight of the week has to be getting an invite to the Melbourne Cup Brunch at the Australian High Commission in Delhi. There was barely an Aussie there, the grounds were thick with Americans and Brits and a smattering of what seemed like a representative from every nation in the world. At our table alone, there was a Greek from Bondi, A Kiwi, a Brazilian, A Kenyan, a lady from Nepal, her husband, the British First Secretary and a bloke from Glen Waverley. As the early morning turned into a very late afternoon, the whole atmosphere turned from polite conversation to something out of a Peter Seller’s movie – The Party to be precise. Perhaps it was because I was fully sober and the crowd had generously partaken of the fine Australian beer and wine. Even in Delhi, the Melbourne Cup is the booziest day of the year.
What’s nostalgic about coming back to India is that the auto rickshaw driver still wants to take you on a grand tour, Internet connectivity is a joke, Indian TV still shows 15 minutes of a movie followed by 15 minutes of commercials and grown men are still urinating in public.
Incredible !ndia, I love it!